Organic, Hybrid, GMO’s and The Safe Seed Pledge

All of our plants are grown using certified organic seeds and OMRI approved materials.

At this time we do not know of any tomato seeds being sold anywhere that have been “genetically modified”. We source only certified organic organic seeds for our tomatoes, herbs and vegetables.

It can be confusing when we talk about the difference between Hybrid tomato plants, hybrid vegetable varieties and GMO varieties. Although many of our tomato plants are “Hybrid” varieties, which means they are cross bred by a “Mother” tomato and a “Father” tomato (by the birds and bees method) so that the best traits of each are preserved, this does not mean they are GMO and they are completely safe to grow and eat.

Genetically modified seeds of soybeans, corn and other commercial conventional crops are being developed by altering the DNA of the plant and producing seeds from that plant. This is done in special laboratories to change the plant characteristics to resist diseases or insects meant to reduce our dependence on pesticides and herbicides.

Long-term effects to our food system are not known when it comes to GMO foods. For instance, if a food source for a particular insect is eliminated and that insect population decreases or is eliminated, the next insect on the food chain may also be altered to the point of species loss. Basic building blocks in nature such as common bacteria, could be forever altered. GMO crops such as soybeans actually allow far more herbicide spraying, not less, which completely negates the argument for GMO’s.

Our approach to gardening is to only eliminate pests as is absolutely necessary to prevent serious damage in the garden using the least toxic method to other species. We always use the least invasive methods possible and thankfully we have a lot of natural techniques we can use. Keeping our water, soil, air, insects, birds and fish healthy and happy keeps us healthy too.

What is The Safe Seed Pledge? Created in 1999, the Safe Seed Pledge helps to connect non-GM seed sellers to the growing market of concerned gardeners and agricultural consumers. The Pledge allows businesses to declare that they “do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds,” thus assuring consumers of their commitment. Here at The Tasteful Garden we only source seeds from companies who have declared The Safe Seed Pledge.

Learn More about GMO food on Wikipedia

A list of GMO products currently being grown:

The Non-GMO Project is another wonderful resource for all consumers:

The tomato has been a symbol for genetically modified food for many years. In 1994, genetically modified tomatoes hit the market in the US as the first commercially available genetically modified crop. GM tomatoes have since disappeared.

This transgenic tomato (FlavrSavr) had a “deactivated” gene. This meant that the tomato plant was no longer able to produce polygalacturonase, an enzyme involved in fruit softening. The premise was that tomatoes could be left to ripen on the vine and still have a long shelf life, thus allowing them to develop their full flavour. Normally, tomatoes are picked well before they are ripe and are then ripened artificially.

Tomatoes were the first genetically modified foods to come on the market. Today, they are no longer cultivated.

These GM tomatoes, however, did not meet their expectations. Although they were approved in the US and several other countries, tomatoes with delayed ripening have disappeared from the market after peaking in 1998. At this point, no genetically modified tomatoes are being grown commercially in North America or in Europe.

Genetically modified tomatoes are not approved in Europe. Applications that were submitted several years ago have since been withdrawn.

Tomato puree made from GM tomatoes was a big success in the mid 90s in Great Britain. The fact that the tomatoes were of GM origin was clearly stated on the label. Later, an application was submitted for approval according to EU laws on genetic engineering. Although EU committees of scientific experts assessed the tomato puree as harmless, Member States could not come to an agreement. The application was withdrawn in 2002.

Scientists are still working with genetic tools to give tomatoes new traits like resistance to insect pests and fungal and viral pathogens. Other projects aim to enrich tomatoes with substances offering health benefits. All of these products, however, are still many steps away from receiving authorization.

Today in the EU, all tomatoes found on the market, whether they’re fresh or canned, are not genetically modified. Even the tomato that stayed red and firm after three weeks in the fridge isn’t a GMO.